July 29th, 2014 | During the months of June and July, 64 Los Angeles area student-athletes returned from their week long wresting camps with new friends, memorable stories, and life changing experiences.
As the rigors of summer wrestling camps go, the BTSLA athletes, many on their first experience away from the comforts of home, were treated to 6:00 AM team runs, countless technique sessions from world class athletes, swimming, team building activities, wrestling competitions, great meals, and with what little time remained; sleep.
For the second consecutive year, the female athletes attended the MVD High Altitude Wrestling Camp in Lake Arrowhead, CA while the male athletes attended the Fullerton Wrestling Camp on the campus of Chapman University in Orange, CA.
With 26 young girls attending the all girls wrestling camp led by Olympian Marcie Van Dusen, the campers experienced first hand what it takes to be successful individuals. The unique camp structure puts the female wrestling role models as both camp clinicians and individual team leaders. This creates a special mentoring and bonding opportunity for the campers to build relationships with their wrestling idols. Included in the camp staff was World Silver medalist Helen Mauroulis, current World Team Member and past Junior World Champion Victoria Anthony, Women’s College National Runner-up Amanda Henley, and College All-Americans Kalin Knight-Alvarez, Michelle Jimenez, Brazel Marquez, Samantha Lopez, and Monica Ramirez.
“I was very impressed by all the BTSLA young women who attended our camp. They were willing and eager learners. Camp is not an easy task, and they faced each day with a positive attitude and got the most out of every session. I believe it’s important to learn to overcome adversity and these young ladies were able to push past their comfort level and advance as individuals and wrestlers. They left camp better prepared for life and with more friends to support them in their journey,” said Van Dusen.
The Fullerton Wrestling camp hosted 38 BTSLA male athletes and delivered an outstanding experience by bringing the nations top wrestlers to teach and mentor the 270 plus camp attendees. All of the featured clinicians were past or current defending NCAA Division I National Champions, including Anthony Robles, Sam Hazewinkel, Jason Tsirtsis, Logan Stieber and Paul Keysaw. In addition to these extraordinary athletes and mentors, 25 counselors worked with the campers, including 4 BTSLA staff members and coaches.
Led by Camp Directors and long time wrestling coaches Arnold Alpert and Lyndon Campbell, the Fullerton Wrestling camp is one of the longest running wrestling camps in all of Southern California. “We are extremely grateful to Coach Alpert and Coach Campbell for their generosity in allowing our athletes to attend the Fullerton Wrestling Camp again this year. This camp is one of the most well-run and organized camps I’ve been associated with and the Chapman University campus served as the perfect backdrop,” said BTSLA Executive Director Yero Washington.
The unique opportunity for Los Angeles area student-athletes to spend 4 nights on a beautiful college campus, eat and sleep in campus dormitories, meet and make friends with individuals from all walks of life, and experience for a short time what it’s like to be a college student, is life changing. “Our hope is that this experience will inspire them to set and pursue new goals for higher education so that they see themselves as future college students,” said Washington.
The camp experience offers opportunity for the selected young men and women to develop not only their wrestling skill, but life skills. The challenges of camp require determination, perseverance, and mental toughness, traits that campers will undoubtedly take with them as they prepare for the new school year ahead.